Hibs Exclusive - Monty on red cards, cool heads and Ibrox cauldron

Straight red? The Moriah-Welsh challenge on Lundstram that ended with the Hibs midfielder being dismissed.Straight red? The Moriah-Welsh challenge on Lundstram that ended with the Hibs midfielder being dismissed.
Straight red? The Moriah-Welsh challenge on Lundstram that ended with the Hibs midfielder being dismissed. | SNS Group
Gaffer hopes two have two key attackers back in contention for crucial contest

Hibs have been urged to make amends for the hot-headed flashpoints that gifted Rangers victory in a fiery Scottish Cup tie at Easter Road, with Nick Montgomery warning that only keeping their cool in the cauldron of Ibrox will give them a chance of victory this weekend. And Monty says he’s still optimistic that Martin Boyle – sent to hospital after a sickening head knock with Rangers defender John Souttar in the 2-0 quarter-final loss in Edinburgh – will be fit and ready to play in Govan on Saturday.

Two red cards just three minutes apart, Jordan Obita picking up a second yellow before Nathan Moriah-Welsh was dismissed for a challenge on John Lundstram, effectively ended all home hopes in a tight cup tie on March 10. The Sunday-evening contest was finely balanced at 1-0 heading into the final quarter when the wheels came off for the hosts.

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Montgomery admitted he’d spoken to players about the need for calm as they head west on Scottish Premiership duty this weekend, the Yorkshireman saying: “Yeah, for sure. Football is an emotional game. Nathan knows, looking back on it, that you can’t give any excuse to the referees or officials to have to make tough decisions. That’s something he’ll definitely learn from.

“Jordan was also disappointed after the game, because he was on a yellow card and walking a tightrope. He knows you can’t get involved in anything. Whether it’s right or wrong, the decision was made.

“It had been a really good game up until that point. That’s gone now. What we want to see is that application and that fight – but it has to be controlled.

“The players have learned from that. And we’ll take that learning into a hostile atmosphere at Ibrox, a fantastic place to play football.

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“I thought the Scottish Cup tie was a good game but, if it’s tough enough going down to ten men, going down to nine just makes it almost impossible. We didn’t make it easy for ourselves.

“Whether the decisions are right or wrong, we have to be smarter. We can’t put ourselves in a position where we’re down two players to a top quality side like Rangers. That’s something we have to learn from.”

While Philippe Clement’s men are chasing a victory that would put them back on top in the title race, at least until Sunday’s match between Livingston and Celtic, Hibs need results to maintain their position in the top six. With just three rounds of fixtures to go until the split, and seventh placed Dundee holding a game in hand over their closest rivals, every point is a prisoner.

Which makes the potential return from concussion of Boyle, who was checked out for serious neck injuries after being rushed straight from Easter Road to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, a real bonus. The fact that Dylan Vente (ankle injury) could also be fit to play some part is also a boost to a team with Adam Le Fondre as the only fully fit specialist striker available.

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Montgomery said: “Martin is back in training today. He’s feeling a lot better, having passed the symptoms he had, so he’s cleared to be back today. We’ve been looking after him and making sure we use this period of time for recovery – because we want him fully ready for the weekend.

“Dylan Vente isn’t back in training yet. But possibly in the next couple of days – so he should be available for the weekend. It just depends on how he goes in his recovery over the next couple of sessions.

“Josh Campbell (coming back from a broken ankle) is also back in training with the team, but the idea is to get him some game time. We had a reserve game planned for today, but that was cancelled because we didn’t have enough players, with so many boys away. So Josh will be building back into training. And he’ll hopefully get some game time next week, with a bounce game.

“We’re now just waiting for all the international boys to be back. Myziane Maolida played for Comoros last night (in a 0-0 draw with Angola), played the full 90 minutes, so we’re hoping that by Thursday we will have everybody back in the building and preparing for the game. But the boys who are here had the weekend off, then came in yesterday, back on the training ground preparing for a big couple of weeks.”